Prescription on Claims for Contribution Between Employers or Insurers is governed by La. R.S. 23:1209

In a case handled by Whiteley and May Law Firm on behalf of a subsequent insurer seeking contribution from a prior insurer, the First Circuit Court of Appeal confirmed that prescription on contribution claims is governed by La. R.S. 23:1209. Big 4 Trucking, Inc. v. N.H. Ins. Co., 2017 0420 (La. App. 1 Cir. 11/1/17), 233 So.2d 686. The prior insurer argued that a one-year prescriptive period applied to all claims for contribution. It argued, therefore, that the claim for contribution was prescribed in its entirety because it was filed more than one year after the prior insurer had last paid benefits on the claim. We argued on behalf of the subsequent insurer that, under La. R.S. 23:1209, when benefits have been paid, claims for SEB and medical benefits have a three-year prescriptive period. Therefore, to the extent that our client paid SEB and medical benefits, the claim for contribution was not prescribed. The First Circuit agreed with our position. The Louisiana Worker’ Compensation Act does not address prescriptive periods for contribution claims. Therefore, prescription on claims for contribution are governed by La. R.S. 23:1209. Because our client filed its contribution claim within three years of the date of New Hampshire’s last payment, the claims for contribution for SEB and medical benefits paid were not prescribed.